Youth At-Risk or Marginalized: Issues of Serious Concern for Educators who Work Exclusively with Adolescents who are Incarcerated

By Warnie James Richardson and Michael Parr.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper utilizes data collected over an eight year period, during which the authors surveyed all 1,464 students who came through a Canadian inner city juvenile detention–centre, as well as all of the full-time staff who were responsible for their immediate care. Although the authors have previously profiled the 1,464 students who had gone on to be officially identified as “young offenders” (criminal), they have never formally explored and reported on the staff interviews. Thus, in this paper they do just that, juxtaposing the staff’s perceptions of the “young offenders” they work with, (twelve to sixteen year old incarcerated males and females), to the wealth of both historical and current literature which has been generated within the larger juvenile delinquency domain. In doing this, they are able to identify two significant areas of concern for educators in trying to better understand and program for the unique, but very at-risk and marginalized population with whom they work. At minimum, this paper hopes to inform educators of, and encourage them to resist the inherent biases which can set in motion prophecies of their students which eventually become self-fulfilling.

Keywords: At-risk Student, Marginalized Youth, Socioeconomic Status, School Failure, Intelligence Tests, Juvenile Delinquency, Criminality, Self-fulfilling Prophecy, Socio-economic Status, Young Offenders

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.157-168. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 561.682KB).

Dr. Warnie James Richardson

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada

Prior to arriving at Nipissing University in Northern Ontario, Canada, Dr. Richardson was a Special Education teacher/educational assessor for sixteen years, all in very hard to serve educational environments, both in Canada and the Caribbean. His doctoral work at the University of Toronto, and most of his research and writing to date, has focused on the schooling experiences of juvenile delinquents, and the incredible resiliency of marginalized and/or at-risk youth.

Prof. Michael Parr

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada

Mike Parr currently teaches in the Faculty of Education at Nipissing University and brings with him considerable experience working with students who are marginalized or at-risk. His wide varieties of teaching experiences, as well as his experiences as an administrator, have been instrumental in serving as a springboard into his current research and writing. As well as teaching fulltime, Professor Parr is a doctoral student at the University of Toronto, completing his PhD Thesis with a focus on Inclusive Leadership Practices in schools.

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